Post: 'X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation' - As a Muslim myself, I do see some similarities...
What it's about.
The uncanny before and after life of Malcolm X. For many, we have read and heard about him on TV and in our textbooks. There is a story behind the life he lead. And that particular story can only be told by those who truly knew him. Betty Shabazz, along with Malcolm X's brother, and The Nation of Islam tell their perspective of their brother and husband.
I find myself at St. Clements theatre once again and I must say the turnout was ginormous for this particular play. I was not surprised at the turnout because Malcolm X was and still is a person whose spirit is alive in our country though literature, laws, history and more. When I got to my seat, it was directly in the middle of the third row. Though I was disappointed at first, I came to realize I may have scored the best seat in the house. Without any signal, a gentleman came running onto the stage screaming. Two flags suddenly dropped in the background. I instantly recognized one (U.S. flag) but I failed to recognize the other. It was the Nation of Islam flag.
Malcolm X was an newly converted Muslim who joined the African American movement and organization. The Nation of Islam is known for its teachings - combining elements of traditional Islam with black Nationalist ideas. As a Muslim myself, I do see some similarities but many differences. For example, Muslims believe Prophet Mohammed is the last of the prophets. To recognize anyone after Mohammed claiming to be a prophet, negates one’s Islam. The Nation of Islam believe that God appeared on Earth in the person of their founder, Master W. Fard Muhammad, a preacher who first came to public attention in the USA on July 4, 1930.
The stage was set up to depict a courtroom seen in which Betty Shabazz pleads her case to the Nation of Islam court that the honorable Elijah Mohamed and his "sons" plotted to kill Malcolm. She states that the leader feared that Malcolm wanted to take his position right under his nose by convincing their followers to believe in his ideologies. That was a threat to all in the organization in which something drastic needed to be done. I must say Malcolm was a handsome man that knew how to persuade and convince with his words. That was something the honorable Elijah Mohamed did not have because he was a crippled old man with an addiction to sleeping with young women.
The defense in this case was one of the honorable Elijah Mohamed "sons" representing the Nation of Islam. Louis wanted to clear the organization's name but most importantly his leader's name. Each side retold the events they believed lead up to Malcolm's assassination to the jury. The audience in this case was the jury. One of my favorite scenes was when Betty stood over her dead husband's body after he was assassinated and cried. She looked directly into the audience and said, "why me? Why my husband?". Unfortunately Betty knew why and so did Malcolm. He had enemies that refused to stop until he was permanently gone.
As I mentioned earlier, I may have scored the best seat in the house because every time one of the actors turned to the audience to talk, I felt as though they were looking directly at me and speaking to me. We locked eyes and the rest was history. Though Malcolm X lost his life to this movement, he will continue to live on for many generations to come.
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